Walmart ramps up expansion of InHome delivery

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This year, Walmart aims to quintuple availability of its two-and-a-half-year-old InHome delivery service, in which groceries ordered online can be delivered directly to customers’ refrigerators.

Walmart said Wednesday that it plans to extend InHome’s reach from 6 million U.S. households currently to 30 million households by the end of 2022. In support of the expansion, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant said it will add more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers this year and build out a fleet of 100% all-electric delivery vans.

Related: Walmart to test IoT ‘smart box’ for unattended fresh grocery deliveries

InHome delivery went live in October 2019 after Walmart unveiled plans for the “food aisle to fridge” service in June. At launch, InHome became available to more than 1 million customers in Pittsburgh; Vero Beach, Fla.; and Kansas City, Mo. and Kan.

“We’ve been operating InHome in select markets over the last two years and have found it is a perfect solution for customers who want to live their lives without worrying about making it to the store or being home to accept a delivery,” Tom Ward, senior vice president for last mile at Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “Identifying ways to help our customers save time and money is our purpose, and nothing showcases that better than InHome delivery, which is why we’re excited to bring the convenience of InHome to even more customers in 2022.”

Related: Walmart InHome Delivery goes live

Walmart plans to add 3,000 associate delivery drivers as it expands the InHome service.

To use InHome, customers sign up for the service and begin placing orders via the Walmart mobile app or grocery.walmart.com. Next, at checkout, they select InHome as the delivery option, choose a delivery day and designate a home entry point, either the front door or garage.

Upon arrival, delivery associates use a one-time access code to unlock the door or garage through their InHome app, which pairs with smart entry technology. Delivery staff also don a camera on their vests that records the delivery, from entry to the home to the stocking of the refrigerator and to when they leave and lock up. Once done loading groceries into the refrigerator, associates post a note signifying that the order is complete. Customers can access the recording via their phones for up to a week after each delivery. Walmart noted that InHome delivery personnel also employ the proper COVID-19 safety measures, including wearing a mask and sanitizing surfaces.

InHome delivery costs $19.95 per month or $148 per year and carries no additional fees, Walmart said, adding that tips are built into the membership price. Customers can extend one-time access to their InHome associate using an existing smart lock, a garage keypad, or by purchasing a new smart lock from InHome for $49.95.

Walmart described the role of associate delivery driver as an up-and-coming full-time position for its stores. InHome drivers receive an extra $1.50/hour from most current store roles, along with full benefits, and undergo in-depth training conducted in-person and through virtual reality. In adding 3,000 associate delivery drivers, Walmart said it aims to promote from within to fill the new roles.

Delivery associates use a one-time access code in the InHome app to unlock a customer’s door or garage.

Meanwhile, Walmart said the move to deploy all-electric delivery vans dovetails with its goal of operating a zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040 and expanding infrastructure of 1,396 EV charging stations at stores and clubs in 41 states.

“This new role is yet another example of how technology is enabling us to offer new career opportunities that just didn’t exist a few years ago,” Julie Murphy, executive vice president and chief people officer at Walmart U.S., said of the associate delivery driver position. “Expanding our number of InHome associates is a testament to the trust and confidence we have in them and their continuous commitment to delight our customers. There’s a path for everyone to build a career here at Walmart, and this position is further proof of that.”

Walmart added that InHome fits into its growing menu of last-mile delivery options. The retailer now offers delivery and Express delivery services for over 160,000 items from more than 3,400 Walmart stores — reaching 70% of the U.S. population — and its innovative delivery solutions include drones, autonomous vehicles and IoT smart boxes. In August, Walmart also launched Walmart GoLocal, a white-label delivery service that offers its e-commerce and logistics capabilities to other businesses, including small to large retailers.

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